By: Taylor Nash, contributing writer
If there ever was a poster child for living in the later, it’s my face you would have seen plastered throughout the city that I grew up in. Always anticipating what was around the bend, never appreciating the moments I was living- because if I wasn’t focused on what was ahead, could I ever really be ready for it?
My entire childhood, I thought about my future self. Would I be pretty? Could I make a living as a writer? Was starting a family something that future Taylor would want to do? I didn’t have the answers, and truth be told, 14 years later I still don’t. But that didn’t stop me from playing them over and over again in my head each night.
You see, for the most part I had a pretty normal childhood with your typical 4 person household and a family dog. It’s not that some awful thing happened to me that I just couldn’t stand to be present... it’s just that I never learned how. Summers spent worrying about school starting up again, months spent waiting for the summer.
The cycle continued into my early twenties. I was always worried about where I was going, that I never stopped to think of how I was going to get there. To me, it wasn’t about the journey but about the destination.
It wasn’t until a blue positive showed up on an at home pregnancy test that I really began to question the ways that I had been conducting myself. Sure, I panicked and went down a rabbit hole of what if’s at first - but I also began to reflect on my own childhood and that’s when I noticed my cycle. The never ending worrying about my future day in and day out… So much so, that I could barely even remember a single moment when I wasn’t fixated on it in some capacity.
To realize as an adult that you spent more time worrying than actually being a kid is jarring, but it was my reality. So I started thinking, how can I break this habit I’ve had my whole life? Lots of online articles and self help podcasts later, and it finally dawned on me... Instead of searching the whole world for the answer of how to be present, I simply just had to be.
I had to be quiet. I had to be calm. I had to be aware of the things that were actually happening around me in that very moment. The sounds, the smells, the sights. It wasn’t about finding some inner stillness, but about actively participating in the things in front of me.
And so I began my first journey into living in the now, not the later. The beauty I was worried about? I began eating better and taking walks every evening. That writing career I wanted? I worked on my screenplay for a minimum of an hour each day. My future family? I took every step I could to ensure my baby had all that it would need. I even began to take on the seemingly mundane tasks I used to put off. Things as simple as organizing my closet, throwing around the ball with my dogs, and prioritizing the time spent taking care of my home.
Now, I know what you’re thinking - there is no way you can just flip a switch and stop worrying… and you’re right. I don’t say all of this to tell you how easy it is to stop worrying, because I still worry from time to time. I tell you this so that you too can realize the true importance of simply enjoying what’s in front of you, while it’s in front of you. Being present isn’t a prefect science but it’s a practice worth trying. No one expects you to accomplish everything you set out to do each day, but to have the ability to genuinely enjoy the things you are working on is all the reward you need.
As Eckhart Tolle says in his book, The Power of Now, “Now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.”